Friends, baking with healthy ingredients can be a delicious way to satisfy your sweet tooth, I am here to tell you.
You may be skeptical of the recipe I’m about to give you, but try it before you rush to judgment. Ever since I ran across it on the blog I discovered recently (while trying to find a description of Sucanat, an ingredient mentioned occasionally in Clean Eating magazine), I had been dying to bake these almond-butter cookies sweetened with maple syrup. Today I finally had the opportunity.
Not a stick o’ butter, a teaspoon of refined sugar or even a drop of egg is included in these cookies. And, trust me, after seeing the movie Julie & Julia a couple of days ago (and watching Kate & Leopold on TV that night), “rich, creamery buttah” was on my mind!
But these cookies are a healthy alternative to the baked goods I usually make. I am not quite of the Paula Deen and Julia Child variety (“You can never have too much butter”), but I definitely like the stuff.
So I was happily surprised when Bruce and I sampled the first cookie a few minutes after I pulled them out of the oven.
And, just so you know, I’m adding Sweet & Natural to my blogroll at right.
The blog is right up my alley. In fact, it’s the blog I had imagined I might someday write, if I had the time (and money) to experiment as much as the author does with different ingredients and recipes. I have long wanted to come up with a way to turn my love for baking into something healthy.
I bake because it gives me a sense of “home and hearth” (and, frankly, because I like the accolades I get when someone tastes my sweet confections), but all too often my recipes are laden with unhealthy ingredients, simply because it’s easier to find those recipes.
But I am no longer willing to settle for that for my family or for myself. We all (except Bruce) could stand to lose a few pounds and clean up our eating habits. And, as Ashley of Sweet & Natural has proved, you don’t have to trade taste for healthy.
I have a heart condition that the doctor says he doesn’t think is caused by overweight, but who really knows? There’s no clear-cut cause for mitral valve prolapse that I’ve been able to discover.
And because I’m 30-40 pounds overweight (I know, I know, I don’t look that heavy, but my height disguises some of it) and have been having more noticeable palpitations and shortness of breath lately, it’s time to stop dabbling in healthy eating and get serious. Being overweight puts extra strain on my delicate little heart valve.
Last week I wore a portable EKG monitor for 24 hours, and I will get the results in a few days. Even if the doc doesn’t report any serious concerns, it’s still time to quit messing around and cut out the unhealthy fats and sugars. It’s a process that will take some time, some retraining of taste buds and a lot of commitment – but it’s well worth the journey.
Friends, even if you don’t have any health issues and you don’t feel the need to “clean up” your eating, try these cookies. It will be worth your time – and the effort it takes to find the ingredients you may not keep in your pantry routinely (natural almond butter, real maple syrup, whole wheat flour).
I have made a couple of tiny modifications, but I don’t think the author would mind. See her original recipe here.
Maple Almond Butter Cookies
1/2 cup natural almond butter
1/2 cup maple syrup
3 tablespoons canola oil
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup chopped almonds
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
In a large bowl, combine almond butter, maple syrup, canola oil and almond extract until well blended. In a separate bowl, mix together pastry flour, baking soda and salt. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients, along with chopped almonds, and stir until just combined. Let sit for 5 minutes.
Roll heaping tablespoons of dough into balls, flatten to about 1/3 inch and place onto cookie sheet. Bake 8-10 minutes. Makes 18 cookies.